Encyclopedia of Girls

Biographies from the Past and Present

The Encyclopedia of Girls provides biographies of historical and contemporary girls from all cultures. Our scope begins with the very first homo sapiens and extends to the present, as a constantly evolving resource for anyone to utilize. We believe that knowledge is power – and knowing about real girls in the past and present is key to inspiring future generations of changemakers, peacemakers, and scholars.

Our encyclopedia is constantly evolving, with our current focus on documenting all the girls listed in the Sites of Girlhood project. 

If you have an entry to contribute, or have recommendations for additions to an existing entry, please email share@girlmuseum.org

Ada Lovelace

Augusta Ada Byron, otherwise known as Ada Lovelace, was destined for greatness. One hundred years before Alan Turing and long before the 1960’s black NASA computer scientists, Ada was the first to write a computer program. Born on the 10th of December, 1815, Ada was...

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Amber Atherton

Our story begins in Hong Kong where Amber was born in 1991, before returning to the United Kingdom. During her school years, she became involved with coding at the age of 9; a skill that would later serve her well.  She also got an early start on practicing her...

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Amika George

Born: 4th October 1999 Site: University of Cambridge, England Amika George was born on 4th October 1999, in Kerala, South India and was raised in the UK. Whilst in secondary school, George read an article about how many young people in Britain miss school due to...

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Anne Frank

Born in Germany in 1929, Anne Frank’s family was Jewish. Her first decade witnessed the rise of the Nazi party, which grew to power by blaming Jews (and others) for Germany’s post-World War I problems. High unemployment and poverty were severe, making Adolf Hitler’s...

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Arait Saha

Born on September 24, 1940, Arati began her life in Bengal, in what was then British India. Her family was middle class Bengali Hindu, and Arati had one older brother and one younger sister. At the age of 2, she lost her mother. With her father enlisted in the armed...

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Caroline Norton

Born in London on 22nd March 1808, Caroline sheridan Norton was part of an influential and grand but poor family, the Sheridans. One of three sisters, they were enticing to those around them. All the siblings were considered beautiful and intelligent, with a tendency...

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Catherine Howard

Born sometime between 1518 and 1525, Catherine was the younger child of Edmund Howard and Jocasta Culpeper. She was niece of the third Duke of Norfolk, and cousin to Anne Boleyn. Her connections meant she was of fairly noble birth. Catherine grew up at Chesworth...

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Cynthia Parker

Oldest child to Silas and Lucinda Parker, Cynthia was born in Illinois sometime around 1825. By 1833, her family had uprooted and moved to Texas as her father became enlisted in the military there. The Parkers were awarded a settlement that abutted Comanche territory....

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Dorothy Lawrence

In 1915 an English journalist, Dorothy Lawrence (1896-1964) was biking through France. She cycled to Creil, a French base camp, to report on World War I (1914-1918). Dorothy went to France to “see what an ordinary English girl without credentials or money, can...

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Egtved Girl

Egtved Girl (13??-1370 B.C.E.) is the name given to the remains of a young woman found in Egtved, Denmark. The Egtved Girl lived in the Bronze Age (1700-500 B.C.E.), when people first built weapons and jewelry out of bronze instead of stone. Based off of the time of...

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Eulalia Guzmán Barrón

Eulalia Guzmán Barrón was born on 12th February 1890 in San Pedro Piedra Gorda, Mexico but moved to Mexico City with her family when she was 8 years old. From an early age, Guzmán was aware of gender inequality and was determined to challenge the idea that women were...

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Fahma Mohamed

Fahma Mohamed was born in The Netherlands in 1996 and moved to Bristol, England with her family when she was 7 years old. At school Fahma attended an after-school session that discussed Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of...

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Frances Mary Buss

Full Name: Frances Mary Buss Birth Date: 16 August 1827 Death Date: 24 December 1894 Location: London NW5 2DB, UK Monument Type: Plaque/Marker Frances Mary Buss was a campaigner for women’s rights and a pioneer of education for women. At the age of 10, Frances...

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Gladiator Girls

 While information and literature exists on male gladiators, there is also some evidence of female gladiators throughout the ancient Roman empire. In A.D. 117, at the height of the Roman empire the Romans controlled land from North Africa to Great Britain and parts of...

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Hannah More

Born in the 1700s, Hannah More was the fourth of five daughters. Her family moved frequently due to her father’s occupation. As a result, Hannah and her sisters met a variety of people from different economic and religious backgrounds. This greatly influenced her...

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Hildegart Rodriguez Carballeira

Born on 9th December 1914 to Dona Aurora Rodriguez, Hildegart was a girl that was always going to be an achiever. Her mother was not married to her father, they met only once. Rather, as a believer in eugenics, Dona chose her partner carefully in order to ensure that...

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Jane Grey

Standing on Tower Hill in London, would you think of the girls? Hundreds of girls have likely been on this site, which dates back to Bronze Age settlements and, later, Roman villages. Yet its fame lies in violence – it is the site of public executions of high-profile...

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Josephine Baker

Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, USA in 1906, Josephine Baker grew up in a diverse, low-income neighborhood. At eight years old, she began working to help support her family and by twelve years of age she dropped out of school to work full-time....

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Kimia Alizadeh

Born on July 10, 1998, Kimia Alizadeh’s family are Iranian Azerbaijani, also known as Iranian Turks. At the age of 16, Kimia burst onto the stage by winning gold in the women’s Taekwondo 63 kilogram class at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics. During the games, she...

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Laura Bridgman

Born in Hanover, New Hampshire in December 1892, Laura Bridgman was a member of a hardworking farming family. At 2 years old, she contracted scarlet fever. Two of her siblings died from the illness. Laura survived but she lost most of her senses including sight,...

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Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) is the author of the Little House books. The Little House series tells her story of growing up in the Midwest. As a girl, Laura journeyed across the United States in a covered wagon, moving around Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, and...

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Lisa Macuja-Elizalde

Lisa Teresita Pacheco Macuja-Elizalde was born on October 3, 1964 and is a Filipino prima ballerina. In 1984, she broke barriers for Fillipino dancers by becoming the first soloist foreigner to join the Kirov ballet in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Not only did she dance...

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Lucy Terry

Lucy Terry Prince. Oil painting by Louise Minks. Like many slaves of Colonial America, Lucy Terry came to Rhode Island from Africa as a very young child in the early 1730s. Purchased by Ebenezer Wells of Massachusetts, Lucy grew up in a time of turmoil with local...

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Malala Yousafzai

In 2014, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest ever Nobel Prize Winner for her activism fighting for the educational rights of all children. The story of how Malala came to be one of the best-known activists in the world is nothing short of remarkable. Born in Mingora,...

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Maria Montessori

Maria Montessori was born on 31st August, 1870 in the provincial town of Chiaravalle. Her father was a financial manager and her mother was a woman who prized education above all else. Maria’s mother was well schooled and an avid reader. This was unusual for an...

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Mary Anning

Mary Anning was born in the English seaside town of Lyme Regis, Dorset in 1799.She lived with her family along the Jurassic Coast which became a tourist hotspot in the late 18th century, when local residents started scouring the coast for ‘curiosities’ to sell to...

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Mary Kittamaquund Brent

When people think of the stereotypical “Native American princess” they immediately think of Pocahontas, as a young woman who struggled to establish peace between the Powhatan tribe and Virginia colonists. However, few have heard about Mary Kittamaquund, the daughter...

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Michaela ‘Chaeli’ Mycroft

Michaela ‘Chaeli’ Mycroft was born on the 30th August 1994 in South Africa. At 11 months old, she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy; a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and coordination. From an early age, Chaeli set out to be an ability activist,...

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Minnesota “Minnie”

Please note that we have elected not to include a picture of Minnesota Minnie in respect for the wishes of descendant tribes. In 1931 construction crews working on Highway Route 59 came across a human skeleton in along the eastern shore of Prairie Lake near Pelican...

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Moni Begun

When Moni was 9 years old her elder sister got married. Her older sister was 12 at the time. Just over 2 weeks after the wedding, her sister returned home unrecognizable. She had become thin and her body was covered in bruises. She subsequently found out that the man...

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Nancy Bird Walton

Born in Kew, New South Wales, Australia in 1915, Nancy Bird became the youngest Australian woman to gain a pilot’s license at the age of 19. As a girl, Nancy had a fascination with flying. At age 13, Nancy dropped out of school to help her father at his general store....

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Phillis Wheatley

Although her life (and stature) was short, Phillis Wheatley’s impact was mighty. We don’t know much about her early life except that she showed up in Boston Harbor on a slave ship in 1761. Her age estimations put her around the age of seven. Considering that she was...

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Phoebe Hessel

March 1713 was a time when women were expected to stay home, pursue domestic work, marry. It was a time when women were defined and controlled by the men they were related to and the ones they associated with. March 1713 was a time when the actions of a woman could...

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Princess Pingyang

Born in 600 A.D., in Taiyuan, China, Pingyang was the third daughter of Li Yuan, an influential Sui Dynasty military commander. During Pingyang’s young life Yangdi, a harsh and unfair ruler, was the emperor of China. As a teenager Pingyang married Chai Shao, the...

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Qian Hongyan

Born in 1996, Qian lost both her legs in a car accident at the age of four. In a later interview with China Daily, she stated, “I just remember that when I woke up, my legs felt very cold. I said, ‘Mum, put my shoes on for me,’ but my mum didn’t say anything. Her...

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Queen Sālote Tupou II

When Queen Sālote (1900-1965) imagined leadership, she thought “hard work had a lot to with it, and strong character, also kindness.” With those words in mind, Queen Sālote ruled Tonga (1918-1965). The Kingdom of Tonga is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean known as...

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Rosa Luxemborg

Rosa Luxemburg was born in March 1871 in Poland. At the time Poland was controlled by the Russian Empire. She was the youngest of five children, born to a lower middle-class Jewish family. Her father was a timber merchant and her mother was descended from a notable...

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Sadako Sasaki

Born in 1943, Sadako Sasaki was just two years old when the American pilot Paul Tibbet flew his B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, over Hiroshima, Japan. On August 6, 1945, by order of then President Harry S. Truman, Paul and his crew dropped one of two atomic bombs over the...

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Saint Eulalia

Called both the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Barcelona Cathedral, this towering Gothic edifice erected from 1298 to 1420 CE stands in memoriam to Eulalia, a young girl who became co-patron saint of Barcelona. According to Catholic tradition, Eulalia was a martyr...

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Samantha Smith

Samantha was born in Maine, United States and lived during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. In November 1982, Yuri Andropov became leader of the Soviet Union. It was during this time that Samantha, aged ten in December 1982, decided to...

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Samina Baig

Born on September 19, 1990, Samina Baig grew up in the Hunza region of Pakistan. This is a unique region of the north, renowned for spectacular natural scenery but also its people. According to the region’s website, at least three quarters of the region’s people can...

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Scarlett Curtis

My first introduction to Scarlett Curtis came through her brilliant anthology ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink & other lies’. That book helped to kickstart my feminist journey in a purposeful way, so I am thrilled to be able to share a little more of the wonderful...

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Sophia Alexandra Duleep Singh

Princess Sophia Alexandra Duleep Singh (1876-1948) was the goddaughter of Queen Victoria. The Queen allowed her residence in Hampton Court, Faraday House. Sophia descended from Indian royalty. Her grandfather, Ranjit Singh ruled the North of India from 1801 to 1839....

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Tarenorerer

Tarenorerer, also known as Walyer by the sealers of Bass Strait, was thought to have been born circa 1800 near Emu Bay, Tasmania into the Tommeginne tribe. Accounts of her life suggest she was abducted in her teens by Aborigines of the Port Sorell region and was sold...

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Thandiwe Charma

Born in 1991, Thandiwe Charma grew up in Zambia, in the midst of the AIDS/HIV epidemic. She saw first hand how it devastated the lives of the people she knew who both did and did not have the disease. When some of her teachers died from the disease, there became a...

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Vardo Witches

“One Christmas Eve, while Mari Jørgensdatter was lying in bed, the Devil came visiting. Having awakened Mari, he insisted that she go to Kirsti. Mari did as the Devil requested. The Evil One asked Mari if she would serve him, while the two of them headed off on the...

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Wencheng Li

Born in Chang’an (now Xi’an, Shaanxi Province) in around 628, the life of Princess Wencheng Li holds major cultural significance for both Chinese and Tibetan society. Her name roughly translates to “Princess Civilizer.” Born into a branch of the Tang Dynasty royal...

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Xu Xiujuan

In September 1987, a pair of swans broke free and flew away while Xiujuan was bathing them. Though very ill at the time, she went looking for them. When she heard fluting swan calls from the opposite of a river, she waded through the water toward them. The two birds were soon found, but Xiujuan went missing. Her body was later retrieved from the river. Unfortunately she drowned from exhaustion in her search and came to be known as China’s first environmental protection martyr. Near her grave in the reserve, a memorial hall has been built to tell her heroic story to visitors.

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